I actually have a medical reason for it, believe it or not (not that I think it
would have to be justified anyway, but it just so happens I do). I used to have a
full beard, but kept it short. As a fairly, er, big guy, a beard looked good on
me, I'd been told. Anyway, in June 1999, when I landed my job in the Alberta civil
service, after a long career in the private sector selling medical devices and
software, I decided that now that I would be in a more public spotlight, I'd shave
my beard off. However, in January 2000 I had a congenitally defective aortal valve
replaced with an artificial valve (which sometimes you can hear; it sounds like
I'm carrying a cheap pocket watch). With that comes a lifelong requirement for
blood thinners to prevent strokes -- Coumadin being the DuPont trade name for
warfarin, which was reworked at Hamilton ON's McMaster University for human
medicinal use; this is the normal blood thinner prescribed for people in my

Well, after our last election, in Spring 2000, we got a new minister of economic
development, who also happens to be our local MLA (Member of the Legislative
Assembly), an affable and energetic fellow named Mark Norris. Normally we report
to Innovation and Science, but we're kind of a joint task force, so we also do
work for Economic Development*. My job wrt ministers involved briefing them before
meetings with industry people (software and internet business was my sector), and
often being present with them during the meeting. Normally we'd be very much part
of the wallpaper during such meetings, quietly taking the odd note if the minister
promised to do something (because it almost always fell to us to actually do what
he promised), but Mark Norris's style is very different, and during the first
meeting like this that I had with him, he got me very much directly involved,
constantly asking me questions, or asking me to answer our guest's questions (our
guest was a regional VP of a multinational computer company). Well, I went to the
men's room in the Legislature after our meeting, and saw with horror that the area
around my mouth looked like raw hamburger. Little shaving cuts hadn't stopped
bleeding and it looked horrible. I was mortified -- I had been this way during the
whole meeting and no one had warned me. I still have a teenager's skin in some
respects, and it's particularly rough on my chin and upper lip area, so I decided
to grow a goatee to prevent this from ever occurring again. The rest of my face is
usually fairly smooth, so shaving doesn't present a problem.

* I should point out that my use of the present tense is for simplicity's sake.
I'm actually on long-term medical disability at the moment. While I hope to return
to work some day, a position in Innovation and Science is only guaranteed for me
up to September 2003, and I may not be ready to return by then. We'll just have to

Gary Smith wrote:

> No problemo, dude.  As long as it isn't Kerry Shirts asking (as his
> introduction to the link would probably be longer than this page). Just
> keep it concise.
> BTW, I didn't know you had a goatee.  Tom Matkin is a bald wrestler and
> you are Colonel Sanders.  Hmmmm....  Sounds like Canada is a pretty cool
> place!
> K'aya K'ama,
> Gerald/gary  Smith    gszion1 @juno.com    http://www
> .geocities.com/rameumptom/index.html
> "No one is as hopelessly enslaved as the person who thinks he's free."  -
> Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
> Marc:  Gary, do you mind if I link to this from my apologetics page?
> ________________________________________________________________
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Marc A. Schindler
Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada -- Gateway to the Boreal Parkland

“Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time he will pick
himself up and continue on” – Winston Churchill

Note: This communication represents the informal personal views of the author
solely; its contents do not necessarily reflect those of the author’s employer,
nor those of any organization with which the author may be associated.

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